Perhaps I wasn’t able to see whether she had arrived-due to the branches that disturbed my eyesight- or that she had come and already left to town; but of one thing I was sure: I had about an hour or so waiting for her arrival. I pulled myself up into the tree and found my way to the top of the solidest trunk-like branch that rested horizontally. Though the leaves were subtler from a higher point of view, making it quite easy to gaze at the road in front of me, I still negated myself to the fact that she hadn’t come, and wasn’t coming. So, in utter denial, I sat in this sturdy branch and allowed my bodily existence to minimalize, permitting it to become fluctuated by the sudden memories in my mind.
In the fall of 1975, I stared at her in the candy store. It was quite peculiar to see an unfamiliar face in a small southern town like this one. How come I have never seen her before? She saw me gazing at her, and loudly said, “excuse me, do they sell Venus bars here?”
Amazed by the level of confidence displayed in such a petite child my age, I responded unsteadily, “they stopped selling those a long time ago.”
“How sad. Those were the best.”
What an eccentric human being! How can a tiny organism like so have such a whopping persona? Immediately attracted to her personality, our conversation continued and naturally transitioned from topic-to-topic. Her name is Sarah, and she had moved due to her mother’s nature of being a wanderer. I can remember the exact words of her telling me so, “we are a nomad family. We believe that happiness is the essence of life, and that success, and the path the leads you to it, such as the common education system, is overestimated. That, is what my mother tells me to say to everybody we meet. We are staying here for about a year I believe.”
All the people I had ever met in my life went to school, had a family of about two or three children, and had a common job, which craved in me the yearning of being her friend-a desire that soon became a reality.
Every afternoon after school I would go to her uncanny house and she would read to me. 20 love poems and a song of despair, by the so-called communist Pablo Neruda, was the first collection of poems she recited to me. Sarah introduced me to the enlightenment period, the philosophies that came across in it, and who the most prominent intellectuals of it were: Rousseau, Hobbes, Bacon, etc. That year’s afternoons were not included in the common 24-hour time frame, for the great amount of knowledge I grasped on each was incomprehensible, in comparison to the little amount of time I received it in. By the year’s end, the afternoons returned to the normal passing of time. My heart sank with my now painful feeling of uncomforting.
“I promise I will return each fall, and every time bring you a new poem,” she asserted, with her usual confidence. And so, she did.
Every year, I hungered for the fall. I hungered for knowledge. I hungered for her presence. And I hungered for an escape. She triggered in me a thirst I did not know I had, and an on growing existential crisis, for my life was not here, and my destiny was not to be a paint store owner-as I was.
Sitting in this branch, 23 years after I met her, I wondered what did I do to not deserve the pureness of her presence. I burned in a mixture of emotions: fury, despair, and confusion; to the point I realized my nature was completely dependent upon one soul, Sarah. But then, in a very sudden manner, I stood up, and walked towards the edge of the tree. The red tainted leaves caressed my face, as if they were comforting me, but I did not need comforting. As hard as it is for a human to assume its independence, I needed to flourish by my own. Grabbing each branch, I leaned to the edge of the tree, starred at the horizon and at the frontier of town. The sunset sun peeked in search of my face, then finding it victoriously. I managed to produce a light smile, product of genuine happiness, and I knew that this moment was not a victim of time. I began to descend towards the ground, while acknowledging that my journey-the escape-had just begun.